Cambodia Tour Tips

On this sitePreparing for arrival







In Phnom Penh

Where to live

Internet get admission to

Getting round

Beyond Phnom Penh

Seeing the Angkor temples


Kompong Chhnang



(extra to come)Other topicsBorder crossings and regional journeys

Working or Volunteering in Cambodia


Bangkok arrival guidelines

More tour information and testimonies: the camera obscura.

On different sitesLiving in Cambodia: Tips and Tricks for Staying Sane in Cambodia is nicely prepared and pretty updated (as of 2004-2005).

The Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville Visitor’s Guides–very useful references in print–went on line in early 2000.

Gordon Sharpless’s Tales of Asia–comprehensive, frequently updated, generously linked to other web sites.

George Moore’s site functions a wealth of travel stories, pix and records about getting from location to area within the location.

The Official Website for Travel inside the Greater Mekong Subregion consists of statistics on Cambodia and the other Mekong international locations, and plenty of hyperlinks to private pages on Cambodia.

The APMCP alumni site profiles Phnom Penh and different Asian towns with short sketches and reachable “great of” lists made with the aid of insiders.

Maps of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and the Angkor temple complicated

There is likewise a domain positioned up by using Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism

Advice andTraveler’s Tips for Cambodia from the British Foreign Office

More travel stories and recommendations at Southeast Asia a los angeles Laary.

Numerous human beings have contacted me to get information approximately travelling Cambodia. Here I’ve put together some solutions to their maximum commonplace questions, so I don’t ought to hold writing the same factor over and over. Keep in mind that the regulations in Cambodia trade frequently, and are frequently ignored in desire of the sensible software of US currency.

NOTE: These hints are based on my studies from July 1995 to early 2000 and are now not being up to date in any consistent manner. Please check the links at left (underneath “On Other Sites”) earlier than sending me your questions. Even although it is out of date, this work is mine. Don’t copy it.Preparing for CambodiaWeather

November to February is the “cool season”, that’s dry and no longer too hot (up to about 30C or 85F). In April it gets without a doubt warm (40/one hundred daily, 30/85 at night time), however not rainy. Starting around June it receives rainy–and still warm. It rains on and off all of the time, so roads are muddy and some areas are impassable, and it remains like that till November, when cool & dry comes–gloriously–returned. Here’s latest forecast for Phnom Penh.Customs

Keep in mind that shorts are frowned on in temples (which includes atAngkor Wat). In reality, few guys in Cambodia put on shorts until they have particular sweaty jobs, so there’s a category detail to this. But considering foreigners are seen as absolutely unusual besides, they can get away with abnormal conduct and get dressed to an quantity. Certainly lighter dress is fine at some stage in workout (you can pass strolling or cycling in the morning alongside the river in Phnom Penh). Good strolling/hiking footwear are a plus for a go to to the temples. Sandals (now not leather-based) are excellent for rainy season within the city–the mud and fecal count number simply rinses proper off! Smile: You’ll do this besides, however usually act respectful, do not enhance your voice or your eyebrows, and smile at anybody. Works wonders.

A Nice Place to Visit, BUT…

In 1997, Phnom Penh changed into ranked as one of the worst cities to stay in with the aid of the Corporate Resources Group. Of 192 cities Vancouver, Toronto, and Auckland were rated tops in excellent of lifestyles. Out of forty cities in Asia, Cambodia’s capital ranked 31st. (Source: Access Cambodia Bi-Monthly NEWS, Dec. 1 – 15, 1997, Vol 1)

And it hasn’t moved up due to the fact that then, at the least for expats. In 2002, the Economist Intelligence Unit assessed the worry degree for expatriates in 130 cities round the world. Melbourne and Vancouver tied for first-class, whilst Phnom Penh got here in a No. 126, beating most effective Dhaka, Lagos, Karachi and Port Moresby. Ouch.

(Reuters, October 4, 2002)


Cash is best (aaah, cash!). Bring bucks in case you have already got them, or baht if you don’t. Dollars (and to a lesser quantity Thai baht) are commonplace almost anywhere in Cambodia, intermingled freely with riel. You will get a few riel as exchange whilst you spend dollars; simply blend ‘n’ fit. One dollar equals 4050 riel (as of January 2006); the riel has lost less than 1/2 its value on account that 1995 (the ones IMF policies hold inflation down, if nothing else). Coins have no longer been used for many, many years.

There are a few places as a way to exchange vacationers exams. Credit cards are useful only at some ritzy places in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, although you can get a coins improve from a Visa or JCB card on the Cambodian Commercial Bank, amongst others, in Phnom Penh and a few banks in other foremost cities.

UPDATE: Residents used handy off their (overseas) coins cards to buddies traveling Bangkok so the buddies can pull out money for them, however as of late 2005 there are a few cash machines in Cambodia at branches of the ANZ bank and on the Canadia Bank in Phnom Penh. These ATMs may additionally or might not be well matched with your card.


As of 2003, Visas are available on arrival at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports (see below), so in case you are entering Cambodia at the airport, there is no want to get one in advance. If you input by using land, you must get a your visa earlier than you get there in most instances, and it must be marked for entry at that entry point. If it is not, you are nearly sure to be despatched back (Download visa software.)

Find greater and higher visa info at Tales of Asia.

There is not any other training needed that I can consider, besides for multiple shots, and for a brief go to even the ones are in all likelihood now not vital. Havrix costs $60-100, however is notion to offer lifetime protection from hepatitis A, which is not a bad element.


The considerable majority of Cambodians communicate Khmer, a language of the Mon-Khmer institution. Its best close relative is the language of the Mon, a Burmese minority. Khmer is simplest distantly associated with Thai and to some Indonesian languages, with a few borrowed phrases from Vietnamese, Chinese, Pali, French and English. The script is associated with Devanagari and appears a piece like Thai script at first glance. An growing variety of urban Cambodians communicate English, specially young humans, and some (often older) Cambodians can communicate French. Though its grammar is quite sincere, Khmer is a reasonably difficult language for most English speakers to learn due to its pronunciation. For a evaluation to different languages, click here. If you need to head beyond the vacationer phrasebooks, you can study on line at Northern Illinois University’s advent to Khmer website online. For home observe, I specifically like Frank Smith’sKhmer Language Learning Materials.Arriving at Pochentong airport

Bring two small pix and $25 US. You will get two forms to fill out on the plane. On the form you ought to identify your go to as a vacationer go to or a business go to. It’s $20 for a one-month traveler visa, or $25 for a one-month running visa. The best difference is that the operating visa can be renewed without leaving the u . s . a ., so in case you might live greater than a month, select that one. There has been no requirement to show you’re running for everyone. Tell the fact about your activity, specially in case you are not a human rights worker or similar troublemaker. Actually they don’t appear to care. (More on visas at Tales of Asia)

After you land you may stroll into the terminal, in case you are prudent, and join a crowd of humans at the visa counter. They will ask you on your passport and your paperwork. They will ask you for the pictures as nicely, although I actually have never heard of all of us being turned away for no longer having them. Don’t worry, just hand your passport over, and circulate down to the alternative stop of the counter to choose it up and pay the fee. (It was once that if you desired to boost up your development, you may hand over a fiver to the fellow who takes your passport and forms, motion meaningfully down the counter, and then flow smartly along whilst honest people wait. But I heard one record in early 2002 that this not works.)

Keep in thoughts that if you overstay your visa, you will be charged $30 plus $5 for each day you overstayed.You pay whilst you leave; it’s problem-unfastened.

If you get a process with an organisation, they usually have someone who looks after your visa extensions by using paying (off) an appropriate somebodies. Once again, those regulations can alternate at any time.

Getting into city

After you get the visa, make like a infant…and head out. You will bypass a desk with a signal that says it’s $7 for a taxi into town. If you’re stretched for cash, say “5 bucks” and maintain walking. You is probably capable of get it for $4, but come on. Go with the primary character who consents, which won’t be till you reach the sidewalk out of doors. Don’t fear, you’ll not be stranded!

After you get your baggage, you will skip confidently by the guys who may want to call for to search your baggage, however won’t because they’re charmed by means of your exceptional and pleasant demeanor. You’ll undergo a small foyer. Take a study the price, but don’t trouble changing money there (see above).

You will emerge from the airport in a crowd of taxi-drivers vying in your patronage. The only distinction between these and the ones who approached you inside is that those interior have paid a person off for the better role. If you do not have an excessive amount of baggage, choose an extended and less comfortable, however a whole lot greater exciting moto-taxi experience ($2-3).

Try to shop for a Phnom Penh Post as quickly as you could, even at the airport sidewalk. It has a town map inside the center, with many beneficial locations marked. (The most comprehensive map and listings are inside the 2003 Cambodia Yellow Pages on sale at various bookstores and Western-style markets. The Phnom Penh Visitors Guide is a superb unfastened useful resource complete of how-to information and listings. It’s available all over town. There’s an important model for Sihanoukville too. Both are actually online.

If you to want to make any telephone calls when you arrive, ask your taxi driving force if you could use his phone.Offer him a few cash afterwards: at the least 20-30 cents/minute. Local pay phones paintings on phone cards best; look for shop signs and symptoms marketing Telstra or Camintel cards.

Where to live in Phnom Penh

The capital is full of resorts and guest houses–there are many extra than you will count on. For $15-30/night, strive the Cathay Hotel on Street 19 or the Sunshine right on the riverfront. Taxi drivers ought to realize wherein they’re. Rooms are TV/AC/hot water/cellphone and respectable.

For a reasonably-priced guesthouse ($five-7), try the centrally placed Last Home on St 108. It has an awesome enough recognition regardless of its alternatively terrifying name. Down the facet streets at the back of the Capitol Guesthouse (on St 182 simply west of Monivong) you will find many more, such as the popular Narin’s. Guest homes on the eastern shore of Boeung Kak lake are adorable for the duration of sundown, which is made even deeper by using the thick clouds of marijuana smoke drifting off the zoned-out loads, but they may be more remote from the city middle. I even have never stayed in any of those, so I simplest speak from what I’ve heard. The Last Home sells guidebooks, maps and so on, as do the FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) and the Wagon Wheel restaurant, each on the riverside (Sisowath Quay close to the nook of Street 178).

Internet get admission to

As of 2003 there are stroll-in cybercafes anywhere in Phnom Penh and within the essential vacationer cities. The low-budget champions, such as Riverweb,are on the riverfront, at best $0.50/hour. Similar deals may be determined at Khmerweb on Sihanouk and rankings more based on the same version. Walk in, sit down at a terminal and someone will come over and begin the counter for you. Other locations of interest for extra than simple browsing:In overdue 1998 at new provider known as K.I.D.S., owned and operated by way of young Cambodian students, opened. They additionally do education and net design. 210-108.

See additionally my Camera Obscura, wherein there are links to lists of Internet access points in Southeast Asia and the sector.

Getting around in Phnom Penh

Cambodians keep away from taking walks as though they lived in Los Angeles. But a strolling pace is the excellent way to take in the information that make Phnom Penh so charming. Some of these info are proper underfoot: Watch in which you’re stepping at all times. Not handiest are there are exposed drainage holes that you are well advised not to fall into, but there may be an outstanding style of substances you can no longer need to have interaction with too at once.

To move busy streets, you need to stride determinedly into the visitors, searching at once at oncoming motors however with out simply catching absolutely everyone’s eye. If they see that you saw them, they will anticipate proper of way. Remember oncoming automobiles can come on from any course. Do not sluggish down or accelerate extra a bit, or you’ll be hit. Just keep strolling and display no fear. Sounds horrifying, right? Try getting up next to a few locals and crossing of their shadow.

Wheelchair Access

Although there are plenty of folks who use wheelchairs right here, there are very few ramps consistent with se. As a long way as I recognise there’s no accessibility regulation; there simply isn’t any evidence of 1. Many sidewalks have lower cuts for vehicle parking, or the minimize is missing anyway. Sidewalks themselves are not very good, divided up with ridges and so forth, but there is usually some manner to get across the obstacle, thanks to Cambodians’ dependence on motorbikes, which they also roll everywhere. People the use of wheelchairs commonly travel in the roadway. Many homes in cities have degree access to the ground floor, except for newer ones. Elevators are uncommon. However, there are masses of humans around who are happy to hold a person and the chair up and down if essential. They may or won’t ask for a small donation, of route. The foremost trouble may be in-metropolis transit. The high-quality choice is probably a vehicle and driving force. The different approaches to get around are motorcycle taxi and cyclo.

You can spot moto-taxis with the aid of the baseball caps and sunglasses on the men who power them. Pay around one thousand-2500 riel for a ride, depending if it is one or two human beings riding, how some distance, and if it is day or night time. Just ride, then pay on the end; you don’t should set a rate first. A complete day’s using around will value $five-7. Remember that random moto drivers will now not know wherein they’re going, and do not know the way to read a map. You need to point the manner–if you do not, you may observe that the moto is circling aimlessly around metropolis. The word for “prevent” is between “chowp” and “chope”. Moto drivers who grasp out on the foreigner hangouts will recognize the foreigner places. They may even quickly research where you stay, who your buddies are and who you’re going out with. Some of this statistics is rumored to locate its way to the Ministry of the Interior.

Similar advice applies to the cyclos, however these quiet and non-polluting pedal-powered vehicles are tons slower. If you’re journeying, they’re extremely good for a leisurely go searching. They also can carry excellent loads: 3 of them moved my whole household consisting of several big pieces of fixtures. Many cyclo drivers are rice farmers who come into the towns at some point of the dry season, and lease their cyclos to make cash within the day and to sleep in at night. You will see them clustered in cyclo villages right here and there all through Phnom Penh, mainly at night time while the pedalers, who’ve rented them, use them for accommodations. A cyclo ride expenses about half of of what a moto ride charges, although site visitors are expected to be more generous.

Bicycles are on the market in stores all around the Capitol Guesthouse on Street 182. The “mountain bikes” are cheap–approximately $100 for the great of them–however of terrible pleasant. Mine fell to pieces in about a 12 months, thank you in component to Phnom Penh roads, which range from easily paved primary roads to unpaved, rutted, rocky, swampy, facet roads. A more strong desire is the Pee-Wee Herman fashion Pheasant bicycle favored by way of Cambodian girls, or the particularly sleeker unmarried-pace Vietnamese or Chinese road motorcycle ($50-70 new). And then there are the trusty vintage journeying bikes, commonly manufactured from a variety of portions knocked together. These are available for $20-30. I haven’t observed any bike rental places, however any guesthouse need to be capable of set up it. For data on cycling inside the Cambodian nation-state, see Biking Southeast Asia with Mr. Pumpy.

Near the Capitol, however on Monivong, is the Hong Kong Hotel, subsequent to which might be two similar motorbike apartment shops. Foreigners have to leave their passports as a deposit, and pay $5-7 in step with day for a motor scooter or a 250cc dust motorcycle. Two things to preserve in thoughts: Cambodian visitors has regulations that take time to get used to; and if the bike is stolen, you’ll need to pay for it, in effect buying it for the nice folks that robbed you.

Buying a moto: costs begin round $250 for an antique one. A registration code, registration and driver’s license are required by law but no longer through fact. Many motos and motors haven’t any plate, or game a conceitedness plate made at home or on the road nook.

Readers ask…

Q: Is there any sizable anti-American sentiment?

Cambodians are commonly quite warm and friendly, even though reserved on a personal stage. The lifestyle is so special from Western subculture that it could be quite hard to shape actual friendships in the sense you’re probably familiar with.

Q: How’s the nearby food?

Cambodian food is for the most element an unremarkable hybrid of Thai and Vietnamese, each of which I recall super cuisines. However there may be a terrific variety of food to be had in Phnom Penh: Chinese, Japanese, Indian, French, German, continental, American, Italian, even Mexican and West African…if there were Ethiopian meals right here I might have in no way left. (If you want specific pointers, Ian Taylor has some properly ones.) You can get marijuana pizza introduced to your house if you need. Or you could have a few delicious canine or a few fried spiders, grubs or locusts. Yum!

Beyond Phnom Penh

Only one out of ten Cambodians lives within the Phnom Penh, with its frantic site visitors, glitzy discotheques, eating places, extravagant corruption-fed luxurious and concrete slum squalor. The relaxation are scattered across dozen different provinces, a few in small provincial capitals and most in tiny villages and settlements pinpricked the various rice paddies and forests of rural Cambodia. The nation-state produces the extraordinary bulk of Cambodia’s wealth, inside the shape of illegally felled and smuggled wooden, gems scratched from the earth with the aid of huge Thai sifting machines and dirt-protected employees alike, rice planted and harvested by means of strains of peasants doubled over at their challenge, and fish netted from the ever-dwindling Tonle Sap and its tributaries.

One of the various motives for the triumph of the Khmer Rouge in 1975 is that the peasants inside the nation-state had been easy converts to an agrarian motion that promised to put off the ill-gotten gains of the urban exploiters. When the metropolis folks were compelled to the rice fields with the aid of the Khmer Rouge, these “new people” fell in droves underneath the backbreaking labor that the peasants had been accustomed to.

Twenty-four years later, little has modified. The provincial cities have some of the symptoms of Phnom Penh’s relative prosperity, but the nation-state indicates little signal that each day life has changed in any respect. In some methods it has advanced, if a few motorbikes and the ever-present karaoke video shops count as progress. In other methods, the nation-state appears to had been left derelict; irrigation systems are broken or silted up, bridges are collapsed and changed via single planks, and roads are decreased to bumpy, damaged paths. In the video stores the peasants watch soap operas depicting rich urban Khmers at play, and in the off-harvest season some of them journey to Phnom Penh to work as moto-taxi or cyclo drivers, seeing first-hand the brilliant lights, the Mercedes-Benzes, and the excesses of a seriously unbalanced society.

These ninety percent of Cambodians go through every year droughts and floods, and stay beneath the thumbs of the ruling birthday celebration’s neighborhood chiefs, with little by means of manner of health care or training to show for the worldwide network’s $2 billion in donations for the duration of the past six years. It isn’t always tough to imagine that they could one day permit their anger explode.

The traveller, but, will generally locate human beings friendly and curious, proud of what little they’ve, and generous with it. One of my maximum prized experiences in Cambodia become a motorbike experience I made with my friend Chris in August 1997. We planned to trip from Kompong Cham east along the Mekong in desire of achieving Kratie. On crossing to the left financial institution, the street marked on the map seemed not to exist. Perhaps it turned into under water (it was the wet season), or possibly, like many roads marked on maps of Cambodia, it surely did not exist. We had been forced to bear a grueling eastward adventure on the break of Highway 7, which a pouring rain quickly transformed into a slippery mess of dust and side-to-edge potholes. After severa roadside fixes of our growing old dirt bikes, the use of the same old strands of vine and bits of cardboard located in the street, we turned left in the direction of the metropolis of Dambae (which reached possibly its best repute when it become prominently shown on the map on the duvet of Newsweek magazine’s Generation Global problem in September 1998) and the Mekong, questioning that if we reached the riverside metropolis of Chhlong we’d find a guesthouse.

But we reached Dambae at 5:30pm, when the skies have been darkening. A pleasant crowd amassed and between them informed us that the street ahead featured water crossings so deep that our bikes would be completely submerged. This was everyday, you simply push it thru, drain the water out and look ahead to it to dry enough to start again. We dominated it out, figuring out that this tiny crossroads town would be our forestall for the night. Almost right away, a diminutive, perky fellow supplied up his domestic, and actually his sound asleep platform, to us. The evening began with sparkling duck soup and resulted in a Khmenglish conversation generously lubricated through Johnny Walker scotch fortified with the equal duck’s blood. Let not anything visit waste.

A distinctive view

For every other side of lifestyles in Phnom Penh, at the least as some expats stay it, see Ladies Who Lunch, via Victoria Stagg Elliott of The Cambodia Daily.

The foremost proponent of what he calls “the alternative Cambodia” as a destination is Ray Zepp, an teacher at Phnom Penh’s commercial enterprise college. Any newcomer who plans to journey round Cambodia’s provinces need to pick up a copy of his book, The Cambodia Less Traveled, and the annexes to it which have come out later. The ebook is widely available in Phnom Penh’s markets and shops serving foreigners. I actually have visible an amazing selection of the annexes for sale at the Last Home Guest House (qv).The Angkor templesThere are methods to go to Angkor Wat. I advocate going up the river to the city of Siem Reap, close to Angkor, by means of boat. It takes four to 6 hours, however you get to see the nation-state and the riverine villages, a lot of which are populated via ethnic Vietnamese. Then fly back to Phnom Penh. There is normally no scarcity of tickets for the boat or the aircraft, but you’re taking your possibilities in case you do not reserve.

Is the boat safe? You be the decide. I have seen fishers firing warning pictures (they’re irritated over boats cutting their traces and nets). Also, boats have run out of fuel in the middle of the Tonle Sap lake, leaving the passengers stranded for hours in the blazing sun. One of them swamped on the dock in Siem Reap because of overloading, and yet any other burst into flames in Kompong Chhnang due to the fact a man turned into smoking whilst he sat on pinnacle of the drums that served as more gas tanks. Also, the smaller speedboats are grossly overpowered, cross too rapid, and if one become to hit something or go out of manage at the lake there might be many casualties.

OK, so it is now not for everybody. But I might nonetheless go through boat. Bring earplugs and consuming water, and in case you plan to trip on the roof (advocated) use lots of sunblock and bring a headband (krama) to tie round your head.

For one account of this boat trip, see part five of Patrice’s travelogue in this site.

Tickets to the Angkor temple complex run $20 for at some point, $40 for three days and $eighty for per week. You’re cheating your self if you pass for less than three days. Speaking of dishonest, you might surprise where the money goes. See Gordon Sharpless’s Cambodia Today website for an terrific rationalization of this and a number of the other modern-day mysteries of the temples.

See Canby Publication’s Visitor’s Guide to Siem Reap for extra.


Buses to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main seashore metropolis, run all day from early morning until early afternoon. The trip takes approximately three.five hours and costs about $5. The bus businesses are near the southwest nook of Psar Tmei (the New Market within the center of Phnom Penh). Just cross there and take the next bus. If there isn’t a handy one, move the the road off the NW corner of the marketplace and you’ll find many vehicle and van taxis going to Sihanoukville. $five/character to be crammed in there, $20 in case you need the whole vehicle (which additionally approach you can leave at once as opposed to watching for the car to fill. Specify “air con” if you need it, and pick out a vehicle with the steering wheel on the left facet in case you are concerned about safety.

The experience to Sihanoukville is commonly secure. I even have only heard of one case of a bus crash, and one case of a mass robbery of the complete busload. As of a yr ago, there was one checkpoint close to Sihanoukville wherein police want to peer foreigner’s passports. We didn’t convey ours, however they really gave up and let us skip.

See Canby Publication’s Visitor’s Guide to Sihanoukville for extra.Kompong Chhnang

Kompong Chhnang is at the the southern cease of the Tonle Sap lake. Boats from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap stop on demand at its port, even as Route 5 to Battambang passes through the main part of metropolis. The two elements are related through a road along an extended dike. The guesthouses in Kompong Chhnang are reputed to be ugly. The most effective actual hotel is the Rithisen, facing the trash-strewn riverside. It has overpriced rooms at $10/$12 with AC (in Battambang you get satellite tv for pc TV, a refrigerator, and warm water for that charge).The Rithisen will face competition as quickly as the Halfway House restaurant/bar (tel 026-988-621) provides visitor rooms, now beneath production. The proprietor of the Halfway House is Paul Greaves, previously of the British Special Forces and later the assignment supervisor for the great, if stalled, Kompong Chhnang shipment airport undertaking. His eating place is set 1 km north of town on Route five, and is incredibly nicely-furnished and geared up–you’ll no longer know you were in the Cambodian nation-state. Whether it really is a plus or a minus is as much as you.Kampot

The coastal city of Kampot is about two hours south of Phnom Penh. The quickest course there may be via Takhmau on Route 2, then turn right simply earlier than the town of Takeo so as to jog over to Route 3. You will pass via the ultimate of the Elephant Mountains close to the coast, including an imposing rock massif on left, completely owned by way of Teng Bunma. From outside the gate it seems like a massive doorway has been carved into the northwest face. One can handiest imagine what he uses it for.

For foreigners, the perfect way to explore the points of interest near Kampot is to prevent on the Marco Polo eating place (tel half-330-166), simply east of the middle of town (or with the aid of now, its more recent incarnation at the waterfront). Owner Davide Cattaneo can arrange day journeys on a boat up the Kampot river or along the coast to the beach islands off Kep, or up to the amazing Bokor hill station, with its ruined hotel and hotel village overlooking the Cambodian coast from 1100 meters. Khmer Rouge troops held out on Bokor for weeks after Vietnamese forces swept past them to take the bulk of southeastern Cambodia and the capital. Twenty years later, in 1999, the vicinity turned into nevertheless plagued by relics of the warfare for the hilltop redoubt: the guardhouse atop the lodge remains buttressed by using sandbags within the picture right here, and the rooftop turned into strewn with spent shells. By the time Bokor fell, the relaxation of the Khmer Rouge have been filled extra with bullets than with their former braggadocio

On George Moore’s web page there may be a Phnom Penh Post article based on my go to to Bokor with buddies in early 1999, in conjunction with some remarks by using George.


Cambodia’s northeastern wasteland is stunning and very faraway. If you are willing to discover and don’t need creature comforts, it has plenty to provide.Transportation is awful; the province boasts a total of much less than 2 km of paved avenue. Local swidden farmers (non-Khmer “hill tribes”) are below heavy stress from officers and navy types to forestall their roving so cash plants can be planted (below de facto license by using Hun Sen’s regime, generally) and logging trucks daily bring their illegal profits across to Vietnam. This is one way the regime can pay off its political and army allies–by using giving them franchises to log, clear, smuggle, and exterminate rare animals for export. In this situation, the governor of Ratanakkiri, Kep Chuk Tema, is a CPP man who runs the province. The Ministry of Environment appears to attempt its quality to satisfy its mandate, however when it comes right down to it, they’re no longer an armed force, and ought to go into reverse regardless of the good intentions that I suppose the Minister of Environment, Mok Mareth (also CPP), clings to.

The town of Banlung, does not have a whole lot to offer. There is one real restaurant, the Ratanakiri restaurant, at the north end of city. There are very few Westerners residing up there–maybe 5 or ten max. There aren’t any bars, bookstores, libraries, movie theaters, and so on. There are a few streetside pool tables with ripped-up felt, and numerous karaoke stores.

In the dry season it is feasible to take a truck taxi from Stung Treng to the dirty capital, Banlung. In the moist season, RAC with its five weekly flights to the capital’s pink dirt airstrip is the only option. There are a few appropriate guesthouses in Banlung, and one inn which appears to be a failed undertaking by means of the governor and is barely open.

You can take day trips through motorcycle (apartment is available at the Ratanakiri restaurant) thru the vintage rubber plantations to two high waterfalls. Just a few kilometers from Banlung there is a lovable little volcanic lake with appropriate swimming, surrounded by a quite nicely-maintained nature trail. Thankfully, the whorehouse running in recent years on the threshold of the lake in latest years has been dislodged. Now there is a pleasant little museum of nearby musical gadgets and crafts as an alternative.

Other than folks who need severe hinterlands and overnights ingesting nearby liquor with the hill-tribes (now not a awful option, I’ve heard, when you have a valid reason to be there), maximum tourists will discover 3 or four days enough.Border Crossings and Regional Trips

Recommended travel agent

East-West Travel

182 Street 208, simply east of Monivong


Between Vietnam and Cambodia

Bavet/Moc Bai is open both ways, however to get into Cambodia there you clearly should get a Cambodian visa specifically marked for this border crossing. You can get a bus or taxi for round $10, transferring at the border. One choice to come from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penhis to take the backpacker bus to Tay Ninh (headquarters of the Cao Dai cult), then hire a moto-taxi to the Cambodian border, in which you go and get a taxi to Phnom Penh for every other $6 (extra in case you need an entire seat). George Moore has more data for you.

ThePhnom Penh Visitors Guide explains that the bus from Phnom Penh to HCMC leaves at four:30 am from near Psah Depot, on St 182 near 211, behind an automobile repair save next to a Shell station. $5 is going all of the way!

Between Thailand and Cambodia

Aranyaprathet/Poipet opened in early 1998, both approaches. At least one man or woman has traveled from Phnom Penh to Bangkok in 15 hours, for $15. His account changed into in a nearby magazine called Bayon Pearnik, in the April difficulty. The border among Koh Kong and Trat is likewise open. Here’s a journey story approximately it.

In all cases you should probable get visas earlier, specifically marked for the crossing you need to use.


See some suggestions for a go to to Cambodia’s peaceful northern neighbor.

Working or Volunteering in Cambodia

It’s nevertheless feasible to show up in Cambodia and discover a respectable task, mainly if you may continue to exist until you’ve got made a few contacts and a few friends, and so on. Having skills simply facilitates, however it’s now not strictly important. Pay is low with the aid of Western requirements (unless you get a cush NGO or diplomatic process), however Cambodia is a reasonably-priced and thrilling vicinity to stay for a while. You can live on $10-15 an afternoon in case you’re cautious and now not looking for luxury.

There are lots of organizations, and in case you make the rounds you may well provide you with something, specifically if you could volunteer or work for very little cash. Unfortunately there may be no central clearing residence for foreigner jobs, or even for volunteers (I had one buddy, a clever and qualified man, who searched for over a month looking for any business enterprise that would let him paintings at anything totally free). The closest component is the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, which is, or was, at 35 Street 178, and which has, or used to have, a bulletin board out the front.

Other resources:

  • Aid organizations and plenty extra within the Cambodia Yellow Pages
  • Non-governmental businesses and more inside the Cambodia Online Directory
  • Job Opportunities on the Phnom Penh Post internet web page
  • Teaching

    There is masses of call for for English teaching, though costs have a tendency to be much decrease than in wealthier Asian countries. Pay within reason appropriate at the higher schools, including ACE (Australian Centre for Education), but they prefer to peer certifications. At the road-corner faculties they just need someone to face there and communicate. If you are interested by other coaching, you might be able to invent a direction on the University. Pay is minimum at pleasant, but it is able to be profitable.Journalism

    Stringing in Phnom Penh have to be pretty smooth to do–IF you installation the strings before you arrive. FEER and Asiaweek are already constant up with regular correspondents. So are local papers like the Bangkok Post and Nation and the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong.

    If you’re correct at pulling out feature memories you could every so often work with one of the wire offerings in Phnom Penh–their correspondents are regularly caught up in difficult information. There’s AFP, DPA, AP, and Reuters, in roughly descending order of possibility. UPI is best semi-extant. The regionals paper also sometimes run capabilities. Keep in thoughts that the hard political information is pretty well-included by using the wires.

    Local freelancing rates (within the Phnom Penh Post and Cambodia Daily in English, and the Cambodge Soir in French) are low, even though you’ll be able to recast the article for resale someplace else.

    SafetyFor foreigners, Phnom Penh is not any greater dangerous than a US city of comparable size. I and my buddies went out at night all of the time. Crime in opposition to foreigners, mainly inside the form of night time-time robberies at gunpoint, comes and is going in waves. In November 1999 the brand new US ambassador and his spouse have been mugged as they walked near the embassy. Other crimes in opposition to foreigners are uncommon; I even have best heard of 1 rape (for more on that, see the opinion piece I wrote approximately it), and simplest one buddy that I can think of has been kidnapped within the town.

    It’s a mafia town–a good deal of the crime is tacitly legal or at the least authorised via the powers that be, besides for that which they certainly perpetrate themselves. Minor crimes towards foreigners, especially the gunpoint robberies, seem to the paintings of pretty nicely-off young thugs, perhaps the youngsters of ranking officers, appearing on their personal or as part of prepared teenagers gangs. When the authorities announces a crime crackdown, normally after diplomatic lawsuits, this kind of crimestops nearly completely. One special unit of speedy-response police, the “Flying Tigers”, speedy degenerated from an anti-crime unit into a mainly vicious goon squad that performed a lead function in beating up democracy protesters after the 1998 elections, on behalf of Hun Sen.

    Stay with the crowds for a few days until you get orientated. Pickpocketing is not common, but it’s occurred. Don’t carry plenty of coins or your passport (deliver a photocopy of it if you ought to). You will now not step on any landmines unless you go out into the countryside and then wander off the road, so do not move there until and unless you’ve got top records. Also, do not go to regions in which there may be fighting, journey in surprising nation-state at night time, or wander off in the woods. Don’t yell at all of us–revenge is a popular purpose here, and also you don’t know who is searching out a reason. Basically in case you stick with the normal visitor areas and comply with recommendation from locals, you have to haven’t any issues, although you could in no way eliminate the possibility of a maintain-up or a bike coincidence.

    Re-check local situations earlier than you come–simply comply with the information stories to make certain there is not a brand new outbreak of civil unrest (unless of route that is what you like). You can also want to test the US Dept of State’s consular records file.

    As a rule, Cambodians will now not try to rip you off, even though foreigners are typically overcharged by means of a bit, which is OK thinking about how reasonably-priced maximum matters are. If you can come up with the money for to get to Cambodia, you’ve got massively extra money that the common Cambodian road seller, so don’t be stingy. You will make the same mistakes that most humans do, because Cambodia is a abnormal place where everyday policies don’t observe. Even the laws of nature and physics are distinct here. But it’s OK, your losses will now not be wonderful and your profits might be plentiful. If you survive — heh, heh.

    Check my Camera Obscura for destinations apart from Cambodia.

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